At the first European stop of the 2012 Freeride World Tour, held in Chamonix, France, on Monday, New Zealand's Sam Smoothy and American Jackie Paaso won the ski division, while Chamonix's own Jonathan Charlet and American Maria Debari took the snowboard wins.
Chamonix received a 32-inch storm on Friday night, which closed the resort and postponed the big-mountain contest until Monday. Due to the weather, the athletes had little opportunity to study the face before the competition, with many relying on a photograph to learn their lines. A total of 55 men and 18 women competed across snowboarding and skiing.
Smoothy linked together a winning run in the men's ski contest with big cliffs with a smooth style. "To win here in Chamonix where freeriding began is amazing, I really can't believe it," said Smoothy after his win. Sweden's Reine Barkered came second with Oakley White-Allen from the U.S. in third.
There was much celebrating from the home crowd as local Chamonix snowboarder Charlet took top honors. "I'm so happy this day has come, just to be able to compete on my home mountain is great -- and to win here is even better," Charlet said. American Ralph Backstrom landed second with Frenchman Aurelien Routens in third.
In women's skiing, American Angel Collinson took second, followed by New Zealand's Janina Kuzma in third. "It turned out to be so much fun competing here," said women's ski winner Paaso. "I expected the snow to be pretty bad after the conditions we've had, but it was much better than I anticipated."
In women's snowboarding, Debari was followed by French rider Margot Rozies in second and American Shannan Yates in third.
Chamonix was the second stop in this year's Freeride World Tour, following the joint Freeskiing and Freeride World Tour stop at Revelstoke, British Columbia earlier this month. The men now move over to neighboring resort Courmayeur, Italy, for the next stop, due to be held later this week.